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from newspapers; but it is presumed, that, on perusal, all will be found to possess indubitable marks of their imputed parent.
“ To such as think his satires on the Clergy too severe, and of an immoral tendency, it may be answered, that the attack was provoked ; and that the cause of true religion can never be injured by exposing its abuse, in the canting and self-righteous enthusiast.—Many respectable characters are, no doubt, lampooned without reason: the author, exasperated by a few individuals, unjustly extended his resentment to the whole class.
Every piece in this volume possesses some trait, characteristic of Burns; but none, perhaps, is more worthy of attention than the Jolly Beggars, which, independently of the other poems, would be a sufficient recommendation to any collection.
“ An analysis of this admirable jeu d'esprit might furnish materials for a long essay. At present, suffice it to say, that for humorous description, and nice discrimination of character, it is inferior to no poem of the same length, in the whole range of English poetry.—The recitative part is possessed of very considerable merit, but the songs constitute its chief excellence: they are sufficiently familiar and witty, without falling too low, or rising too much above the simplicity of a song; the measure is judiciously varied, and always adapted to the subject.
“ An approach to licentiousness in some pieces, exposed Burns, when alive, to the scoffs of the illiberal, which still insult his ashes. But let the self-sufficient, who asperse the memory of a Son of Genius for some slight deviations from decorum, remember to appreciate his merits also, and to be more attentive to a declaration sanctioned by greater than human authority, that, “ To the pure all things are pure."
Bedim cauld Boreas' blast;
In hoary cranreuch drest ;
* After paying some handsome and well-merited com. pliments to Dr Currie for the taste and ability he has displayed, as Editor of the Works of Burns, a judicious Critic, in a late number of a respectable periodical publication, goes on as follows:
" Yet applauding, as we do most highly applaud, the lead. ing principles of Dr Currie's selection, we are aware that Ae night at e'en a merry core
+ The old Scotch name for the Bat.
O'randie, gangrel bodies,
To drink their orra duddies :
they sometimes led him into fastidious and orer-delicate rejection of the bard's most spirited and happy effusions.
A thin octavo published at Glasgow in 1801, under the ti. 1 tle of " Poems ascribed to Robert Burns, the Ayrshire “ Bard,” furnishes valuable proofs of this assertion.
cantata in particular, called The Jolly Beggars, for humorous description and nice discrimination of character,
is inferior to no poem of the same length in the whole 6
range of English poetry. The scene indeed is laid in the very lowest department of low life, the actors being a set of strolling vagrants, met to carouse, and barter their rags and plunder for liquor in a hedge ale-house. Yet even in
describing the movements of such a group, the native • taste of the poet has never suffered his pen to slide into any 5 thing coarse or disgusting. The extravagant glee and
outrageous frolic of the beggars are ridiculously contrasted
with their maimed limbs, rags, and crutches—the sordid s and squalid circumstances of their appearance are judi.
ciously thrown into the shade. Nor is the art of the poet less conspicuous in the individual figures, than in the ge.
neral mass. · The festive vagrants are distinguished from $ each other by personal appearance and character, as much